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Biden at an event in Cedar Rapids the weekend before the Iowa caucuses. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), a friend and top surrogate for Joe Biden, said Sunday that if Bernie Sanders were the Democratic nominee, he'd have a "very difficult time" beating President Trump and pose a "serious" threat to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's ability to retain control of the House.

Why it matters: On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Biden surrogates are testing electability arguments against Sen. Sanders, the perceived front-runner there, while lowering expectations about how well the former vice president may do in the first contest in the nation.

  • Dodd, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders spoke with reporters at a roundtable hosted by Bloomberg News in Des Moines.

What they're saying:

  • "We view Iowa as the beginning, not the end," Symone Sanders said, calling the results in the first four contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — "four parts of one whole."
  • “This nominating contest will go well into Super Tuesday and beyond,” she said.
  • Dodd said many of Sanders' views are “not mainstream views of Democrats" and that Medicare for All is “a great mistake."
  • Dodd acknowledged Sanders' appeal to many younger voters by saying they respond to the passion of "absolutes" and "black-and-white" arguments more than other voters.
  • But Trump would have a "field day" running against socialism, and that would have repercussions down the ballot, Dodd said. "Nancy Pelosi does not want to become the minority leader in the House again," he said, adding that “in the long run, you’ve got to win on Nov. 3."

Between the lines: Sanders is drawing the crowds and the money, and he has risen to the top spot in the Iowa Democratic polling average tracked by RealClearPolitics. With less than 48 hours to go, a highly anticipated Des Moines Register poll with CNN was pulled at the last minute Saturday night because of concerns about the administering of the questions.

Go deeper: Sanders snatches attention lead from Biden ahead of Iowa

Go deeper

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 4 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
7 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.